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Amid Rampant Pandemic-Fueled Joblessness, eBay Seller Asks $1 Million for ‘Holy Grail’ Sneakers

As ESPN’s “The Last Dance” documentary chronicling the Chicago Bulls’ heyday wound to a close last May, Sotheby’s seized on the wave of Michael Jordan hype by auctioning off a pair of original 1985 Air Jordan 1 sneakers worn and signed by the basketball superstar himself.

Following a competitive round of bidding that saw the sneakers rise in value by $300,000 in the 10-day online auction’s final 20 minutes, the shoes finally sold for $560,000. The total, well above the luxury goods broker’s $100,000-$150,000 estimate, set a new world auction record for sneakers, easily surpassing the $437,500 fetched by the Nike 1972 Nike Waffle Racing Flat ‘Moon Shoe’ in July 2019.

One eBay user, however, is now looking to blow that $560,000 total out of the water.

The seller pinstripe_auctions is offering its own pair of signed 1985 Air Jordan 1 sneakers for an eye-watering $1 million. According to the listing’s description, the kicks were once owned by Jordan and are one of two publicly verified pairs in deadstock condition with a rookie signature.

The eBay seller dubbed the shoes “the holy grail of sneakers” and “the ultimate trophy for any Air Jordan collector.”

Like Sotheby’s Jordans, the shoes carry the code “850204 TYPS” inside the heel, indicating they were manufactured for Jordan between February and April 1985. They also feature a lowered and adjusted collar and mismatched 13/13.5 sizing, two modifications specific to Jordan himself and unseen in retail Air Jordan 1s, the listing said.

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Unlike the Jordans Sotheby’s sold last year, which a MEARS Authentication report described as bearing signs of wear consistent with game use, pinstripe_auctions’ pair is “in as pristine condition as possible,” according to the listing. As of Feb. 4 when the listing went live, it adds, only 15 to 20 pairs of deadstock “850204 TYPS” Air Jordan 1s are known to exist.

The sneakers also bear a ballpoint signature across the left shoe’s toe box. The listing includes a PSA/DNA Letter of Authenticity declaring the autograph to be authentic.

The shoes will presumably go through eBay’s Authenticity Guarantee program. The online marketplace expanded the system last fall to include all new and pre-ordered collectible sneakers sold for more than $100. Under the program, sellers ship their sneakers directly to eBay’s third-party authentication partner for a “comprehensive, multi-point physical inspection.” Once approved, the shoes are dispatched to the customer via expedited shipping directly from that location, adorned with an eBay tag to indicate that they have been verified.

The booming sneaker resale market witnessed the sale of another set of high-profile kicks earlier this month. Listed on Sotheby’s for $25,000 last Friday, the pair represented the single confirmation sample of custom Nike Hyperdunks designed for former President Barack Obama.

The exclusive sneakers reflect the “United We Rise” Hyperdunk created for and worn by Team USA at the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic Games. They feature white leather uppers, blue Swooshes and visible Flywire technology. Custom details include the official Presidential Seal on the tongue and embroidered 44’s to honor the 44th commander in chief. Patriotic graphics such as bald eagles and the date “1776” decorate the insole.